"A Faithful Attempt" is designed to showcase a variety of K-12 art lessons, the work of my art students, as well as other art-related topics. Projects shown are my take on other art teacher's lessons, lessons found in books or else designed by myself.
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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Science Habitat Sculptures

Here's some photos from a project any Science teachers (and Art!) out there might find interesting. We have a very creative Science teacher at our school who often has really unusual projects for the kids. This is a lesson I look forward to every year. Grade 7 Science students construct large scale animal habitats out of boxes. Many of these are over 4 feet tall!

They are essentially stacked boxes (some are made from empty photocopy paper boxes which students can collect from the school or their parents' workplaces). Others are made from stacked shoe boxes or other smaller types of sturdy boxes. 

Then the insides are covered with construction paper and/or painted in some way. Each layer represents a different layer of the chosen habitat. I teach most of these kids Art so it's interesting to see how they approached this project and what materials and techniques they used. 

Materials used within each box range from handmade items to store-bought items: Cardboard tubes for trees, animals made from Plasticine or bought at the dollar store or printed out from the internet, lots of dried or fake plants and leaves, or plants made from construction paper, pipe cleaners, dried moss, etc. All the elements are neatly labelled. They're so fun and interesting to look at! I think the kids did an outstanding job and learned about habitats along the way. Being able to express their learning in such a creative way is really special.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Red Birch Tree Collage

This project was inspired by a cup of coffee :)  A certain popular coffee chain had lovely birch tree holiday cups this past year. I thought it would make a great winter lesson. I taught this to my Grade 3 class- it was very easy for them and most finished in one 40 minute period. Next year I'll probably make it a Grade 2 lesson as it wasn't challenging enough for my Grade 3's, though they seemed to enjoy making them nonetheless.

We started off with red photocopy paper. Then each student got a sheet of white photocopy paper and cut out the trees. Then, using half a sheet of white photocopy paper, they ripped a snowy hill.

Then they used the scraps of white paper to cut out or tear little branches. Finally, the black marking were added in Sharpie. The final step was to add dots of snow using white tempera paint.

Some Grade 3 results:

Saturday, December 31, 2016


Here's a mixed media winter cardinal project my Grade 2 students finished before Xmas break. 
I love the bright red of cardinals and they have such a graphic quality to their bodies, so it's a fun lesson to teach.

See my other cardinal lesson HERE.

Students started on Day 1 by drawing a cardinal on 9 x 12" heavy white paper. They outlined their drawing with a jumbo Sharpie, then painted it using tempera paint. Once dry they were cut out.
The next class they created their background.  Students chose a background colour of 9 x 12" construction paper. In pencil, they drew on a branch. For a challenge, I showed students how to overlap branches. They coloured these in using oil pastels. They were encouraged to mix colours for a more realistic effect. Lastly, white tempera paint was dabbed onto the top of branches and painted onto the sky for snow. Then they glued on their cardinal. I hot glued on a red feather for a wing for those students that wanted one.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Faux Stained Glass

Santa Karl Marx, haha!

This was a project my junior and high school classes started right before the Christmas holidays. Most didn't get a chance to finish- I underestimated how long this project would take- but a few finished so I'll show those. You can tie this lesson into any unit on Medieval art where students learn the history and technique of stained glass.

I've seen a few 'faux' stained glass lessons like this online (here's one example) and have always wanted to try it and finally got around to it. Some projects use acetate, others used plastic wrap. I didn't have acetate and tried plastic wrap and didn't like it so I used plastic sheet protectors (much cheaper than acetate!!) instead which worked great.

Students had to design their own stained glass image- it could be Christmas or Winter themed or anything they wanted, really. They drew it on regular photocopy paper then slid it into a page protector. Then they traced over all the pencil lines with a black Sharpie (for the lead lines) then coloured in the image with coloured permanent markers. Areas left blank will show the silver aluminum foil in the background. Once that's all finished, you cut away just the top sheet.

Cut a piece of thin card (we use old cereal boxes) the same size as your plastic sheet (about 8 x 10").
Rip off a sheet of aluminum foil slightly larger than the card and crumple it up then flatten it out. Wrap it around the card and tape it on the back.

As you see below, you'll have an aluminum foil covered cardboard with your image on plastic.

Staple the plastic on top of the foil. The staples actually really doesn't show which is nice.

These were really difficult to photograph with such a reflective nature! 
The photos don't do these justice- they are so sparkly and shimmery with the aluminum foil!

You can also tape around the border with coloured mini duck tape or electrical tape.

a detail of Santa Marx

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